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Author Topic: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?  (Read 17281 times)

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Offline StacheBC

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How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« on: May 08, 2007, 12:51:10 AM »
Based on another thread.
I wonder how heterosexuals cope with being HIV, not the clinical side of being HIV. How do you get support?

One thing about being gay myself was that all my friends (most 40 and above), all of them lost someone they cared about to HIV/AIDS, they usually know several people that are HIV (if not themselves). So I found a lot of support with all my gay friends.
I'm not into bars, but if I went to a gay bar the chances of meeting someone there that is positive themselves is quite high... I don't think most straight bars, internet sites etc. the situation is the same. Not that there aren't challenges to poz gay males when it comes to dating but I don't think it compares to what straight people face, I could be wrong.

Do you get support from the /gay cummunity/ in your area? Are you seen as an /outsider/? Who gives you support?

Just the fact that I haven't told any Straight friends (that know I'm gay) that I'm poz, to me suggests that even I see a certain challenge about HIV in the heterosexual world. (maybe I'm the one with the challenge/mental block, not them).

How do you see it?

Thanks,
Mauricio.

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 04:20:45 AM »
Heterosexual woman here. My network of support comprises my family, my friends and these forums. Can't speak for others, but I don't actually feel the need for anything else.

Although, I'm quite sure my HIV diagnosis came as more of a shock to many in my family/friends circles (as it did to me) than it maybe did to others here. Mainly, I think, because it was so unanticipated or even thought about.

I believe that one of the main problems with the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the fact that it is still not actually perceived by society on the whole as a pandemic.

On the large part, in Western society, HIV/AIDS is still viewed as a disease that, apart from those in Africa, affects mainly gay men, IV drug users and promiscuous folk. Until 4 years ago, that's what I still believed. And I consider myself educated. I think that that is one of the reasons that HIV+ heterosexual men and women often feel left out in the cold as far as support is concerned. I think one of the most important messages that still isn't being put out there enough is the fact that HIV does not discriminate.

I had no gay friends in my life until I was diagnosed positive. No particular reason why not, simply that I hadn't met any in the circles I moved in. Now, since being diagnosed, I probably have as many gay friends in my phone memory/email contacts as I do heterosexual. I know that there is nothing coincidental about that.

Admittedly, my main support as far as my HIV issues (apart from Ann here), comes from my gay friends, most of whom I've met through this website. When I want a general view on things I can turn to any one of them. When it's more woman specific I turn to Ann or one of the other female positive friends I've made here or the new Womens Forum.

I'm truly thankful for all my family and friends: male, female, younger, older, gay, straight, bisexual, online, offline, whatever. They all bring something of value to my life. It's why I choose them to be a part of my life.

Melia
/\___/\       /\__/\
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Offline englishgirl

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2007, 09:23:41 AM »
hello, thank you for your question

gotta say my experience is of being the odd one out. where i live in england (and i suspect elsewhere as well) it is as if there are no other white heterosexuals out there. in some ways i blame the fact that they are all hiding somewhere, but actually i wonder if there are any others out there! i think it's probably quite likely that people who are at risk think they are not because they are heterosexual, and i have spoken to doctors about not making this assumption too.

i can count the number of + white heterosexuals i know on one hand. i have met some wonderful + gay guys and i am so grateful for them for just being there, but although that they have been there as much as they can for me it is strange not having anyone 'like me' around. i had a conversation in a gay bar on saturday where a -ve gay guy asked me as i was straight why was i in there, and i replied that it was because i felt less of a minority in there as a + person, even tho i had no idea whether anyone else in the bar was + or not the cultural view of me in there was gonna be less that i was 'typhoid mary'. sadly tho even in that bar i think i am the only publicly + person some of those young guys know. and i think that the denial of this disease hitting all of us is getting worse among young gay guys as well as straight people.

i feel my sense of isolation getting worse... hiv support services in my area have just been awarded to the black health initiative (which is mainly a support network for refugees and asylum seekers) so i think that the chances of any new + white heterosexuals deciding to try to access services is greatly reduced. at a meeting recently i have never felt so isolated. it was a crazy situation where the room divided between gays and the token heteros, and the immigrants. basically every time we said anything we were accused of being racist. it was really upsetting and i felt like i never want to access any services ever again as i felt so victimised. and my gay friends felt the same.

there are so many of us with this thing with so many different needs that sometimes the limits on the support and funds becomes devisive. although i have never felt anything but welcome by the gay community i now fear a split in the uk along race lines. the needs of us who have jobs and health service are completely different from those who have real concerns that they will be deported or homeless or have language difficulties. unfortunately in that room it appeared that some thought there was not room for both of us. i'm not entirely sure why, but i would hazard a guess that it was thought by some that we (whites) had no problems compared to theirs. which is a shame because we should all be supporting each other.

the other thing about being hetero and + is that it is sooooo difficult to date. i disclose on a first date if i want a second date, but havent had much luck. also as i am 'out' to a lot of people it would take a brave person to go out with me knowing that others knew my status. that having been said, i wasnt exactly overrun with guys before my diagnosis so things havent changed that much! i havent had a long term relationship since my diagnosis and i am still unsure whether i want one, and if so with a + or a -. am just gonna wait and see what happened, cant say it rules my life.

so, apologies for a bit of a long-winded response to your question. in short, for me being hetero and + is maybe a bit more lonely in a big city in a social sense than being gay and + as it's harder to meet others, but if you have lots of lovely friends (which i do) then it is ok. i dont think that my experience is any more isolating than a lot of people have experienced being gay and + in a rural area. i do worry now though about those newly diagnosed or in denial. i dont think they know where to go where i live. hopefully they will find out about this wonderfult site!!

apologies again for the long answer

love
xxx
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Offline srmn98

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 09:32:58 AM »
I echo some of the above sentiments. As a white, heterosexual female, I feel as though I have few places where I can fit in with my status. Almost all of the support in my community is not only intended for a different demographic, but much of it is exclusive to those demographics.

I am fortunate to have found one female friend in my city that is also positive, and she helps me feel human even when it is just a text message or a quick phone call. Looking another woman in the eye really helps. I do not know any heterosexual men in person that are positive, except I suppose the cheater that passed this on to me.

But above all, online support has been my main source. And while I do not post a lot on these boards, I do read them daily.


Offline emeraldize

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 10:36:41 AM »
Positive white female here. I, too, have things in common with the previous posters. My family and friends are key in my support network although we don't talk that much about HIV--no need to as we're too busy with the things we've always enjoyed together.

I derive support from reading posts here and although I don't post much, I try to log on several times a week because there is always something new to learn. And, as a result of going to Montreal last year, I met a number of the members who are terrific people and have made me feel as if I have positive friends with whom I could discuss any related problems. So far, I've not required that, but I am relieved to know they are there.

I have, I think, reconciled myself to the notion that there may never be support from another partner in my life. I have had the uncomfortable disclosure/rejection experiences and because of my lifestyle, I don't meet that many men anyway. I don't drink, party or attend classes, etc. Nevertheless, I remain open, but realistic. It would be nice to create a friendship with a positive man, but that further winnows the criteria making it less likely than finding a negative person, I suspect.

Like englishgirl, I am out with many people, too, and would envision a positive or negative person having to be pretty confident to handle that setting. Also like englishgirl, my dance card was by no means full.

I am not involved in any +support group, but were I to find I needed that, I would seek it. I am very interested in living a full life---cognizant of my status, doing things to make that world a better place for myself and others who are positive, but also staying fully engaged in the non-positive world.

Support in the form of counseling; Tai Chi; acupuncture; gardening; painting and a good medical team has been most helpful, too---were it not for that host of help, I'm not sure I would be as content as I am. I  consider myself fortunate to have some talented people in my life.

Thanks for asking this question.

Offline asaint

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2007, 12:16:45 PM »
Hi I'm Bob from Orlando. Plain and simple, for me its been hell.  I've been living with this crap since 84, at first when I was diagnosed I just lived with it (no meds) and waited for it to be my time to die. I told no one but my wife that I was sick.Then in 96 I got the dreaded  PCP. I survived ;-) but it kick off  my drug addiction and depression, witch drove my wife nuts till she finely said enough and divorced me after 20 years. By the way she was not poz nor was my son Robert.
Thank you god
I'm drug free for 2 years now, I'm still waiting to meet someone POZ so I can try and live a normal as possible life. but I probably be depressed till I find the women of my HIV dreams.
I have no support right now. when I lived in New Jersey I went to meetings but here in Florida the meeting are far and few in between. So I guess you are all my peers
« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 01:17:01 PM by asaint »
6/11 VL <50   CD4 (9%)   CD8 (54%}

Offline jack

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2007, 12:21:39 PM »
If I need support I get it here. Every day above ground is a good day.

Offline David_CA

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2007, 01:03:27 PM »
This isn't really the question, but this (very) gay guy has a comment.  What's strange, to me, is that I've never known a heterosexual individual that's HIV+ except those I've met from this site.  What's also kind of ironic is that since being diagnosed, I've had numerous other gay men tell me that they are Pozģ without my disclosing first.  I guess in addition to gaydar, som people have pozdar or something.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
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Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2007, 01:44:55 PM »
After reading Melia's post, I've gotten the urge to sing "I'm Every Woman". I swear you are so inspirational, I mean that from the heart, not being sarcastic.

Hmm, my life has changed since being poz like everybody else. I received this bug from an ex who was on the dl or the down low. And had to find out from a co-worker who knew my ex. He got the news from a nurse in the correctional facility my ex was at. Hmm, and I thought medical personnel was suppose to keep things confidential?

Since then I have learned to live with it. I have tried disclosing but everytime it was basically a disaster. My gay friends know and when one of them became poz, I was the person they spoke to. It felt nice being able to talk to someone about it then. My family knows but I have sibs that haven't been really supportive and since they haven't seen me in awhile they are now trying to think of ways to try to see me.

As far as a social life, I really don't have one. I go visit friends from time to time. I don't do the bar scene, I figure if I want to drink, I can do it at home. There is no one romantically in my life, not by choice but mainly due to being poz. Around here, mention being poz and folks look at you like you got leprosy or something and then you become gossip. Don't fuck with her, she's got that shit! Basically you can say I have isolated myself but what other choice did or do I have? I don't go to support groups and if I did, I don't feel that would be the place to try to hook up with someone. And I really don't see myself getting with a neg person. So, I have tried to be content being alone. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

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Offline Dragonette

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2007, 02:59:44 PM »
I am a foreigner living in the Netherlands and I don't blend it with the local support group because they are either gay and Dutch speaking and my Dutch isn't good enough, or the foreigners are (mostly) African. But I have my family and friends and of course my boyfriend, whom I met post-diagnosis (I was ready to kill myself, and I often still have these thoughts). I use these forums not to feel so alone with this, and they really help. The women here are amazing. And I never knew gay men could be so great. That sounds bad... but I suppose I was prejudiced against gays before being diagnosed, because of a few obnoxious ones I met when I was working for the fashion industry in my previous career. How silly is that?! All these separations. I didn't know I was prejudiced, but in retrospect I was.
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline Christine

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2007, 06:45:09 PM »
I get my support from my husband, Mom, and my friends. I also see a counselor who works with chronically ill people.

AM was the first time I had 'met' other positive heterosexual women. It was very comforting to read their posts. Their struggles, how they overcame things, grew to accept themselves.

These forums are a huge support for me. Since joining, I found people who I can talk with, ask questions, laugh with.

A few months after I was diagnosed, I went to a local ASO, and the woman I spoke to did not believe I only had 5 tcells. She did everything but call me a liar to my face. Then I inquired about a support group, and her response was: "Sure we have a support group, but it is full of hookers and drug addicts...I don't think you would fit in..."

I walked out of the place in shock. It took huge amounts of courage for me to go in the first place, then to be treated so poorly really pissed me off.

After that I was afraid to try another support group, so I relied on my family.

Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline otherplaces

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2007, 07:09:01 PM »

Family.  They're nuts.  They must really like me.

Friends slowly alienated me, wouldn't return my phone calls, always afraid to talk about it.  My overall impression was just FEAR. 

I had a great therapist for awhile.  He sent me to a gay community center for a support group.  That was good and nice.  But then it got a little weird when it came out that I wasn't gay.  I then felt like an intruder so I stopped going.

I had to stop seeing my therapist because of money.  I started feeling like I had been set far adrift, and then I found this place which I think kept me from falling into a dark dark abyss. 

I'm hoping to get back out there and meet more people in the city now that I'm not working as much as I use to.

brian


Offline cjc

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2007, 08:12:09 PM »
Hello, Cristy here. Heterosexual poz female. Most of my support I get here from you all and my mother  and father I don't really socialize because the majority of the people I am around do not know my status. I live in a very small community and work at the best restaurant here so do not disclose to them.                                                   I do have a Therapist that I go see ever couple weeks,just to talk or cry about me being stuck. I wish I could come to The AMG and meet some of you wonderful people. Oh well, Maybe next year  Cristy

Offline BT65

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2007, 08:36:00 PM »
Well, I'm a bi poz female, so I guess I'm 1/2 way entitled to answer!  First, Chrstine, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience at your ASO.  Go to the support group anyway, I say!  As for me, I don't know any other poz women in my town.  They're like all in hiding.  I have friends that I've met through the years in Narcotics Anonymous and AA that have always been supportive.  As far as relationships.....  frankly, I'm glad I'm not in one right now.  I think they're way too much energy and I need all the energy I can muster up right now for school.  I've had a few relationships though.  I married a guy in 1991, two years post diagnosis, but he started shooting up drugs again and wiped out my bank account.  Then I had a union with a woman and it didn't work.  The last relationship I was in, turned out to be a very abusive one.  He pushed me down a whole flight of stairs and I had to have a titanium plate put in my upper jaw and it shattered my sinuses.  All these people were negative.  The place I go when I need support for HIV is on here.  I've found many wonderful people and I thank them all.  My family is also supportive.  They've been educated, mainly through me.  I used to work for a doc who's an immunologist and a large part of his practice is HIV+ people.  He taught me a lot which I passed on to my family.  I just thank God they were receptive enough to hear it.  I've ran across the regular bias, but I just disregard it and move on.  Since I have no sex drive right now, that makes the sounds of a relationship even less appealing.  Anyway, that's been my experience.  In the early days of my diagnosis (1989-) I knew two HIV+ women.  They have since died and I miss them terribly!  I wish they had a support group in my town for women, but as yet, that has to be started.  Anyway, those are my 2 cents.  I think we can find strength through each other. 
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline belief

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2007, 12:04:44 AM »
so far in my journey i've found the following to be my support links: this sight, my therapist, my doctor and the guy who passed this virus on to me (yes, we are still very good friends).  i'm not sure if i find this odd or not, or just a person God has blessed me with and placed in my life for a purpose...but, a few weeks back, my friend from work (who is very gay) and i were talking about std's...i was totally stepping around the topic of hiv, but i finally said something about it (this was when i didn't know my status for sure) and i came forth with my concern of my own health.  at that time, he disclosed to me that he was positive - just like that.  he only recently became positive (october) and was totally cool with telling me his status and assured me that i will be ok...regardless of the outcome of my test.  i only see this guy once every 5-6 weeks and saw him again last week...and told him my news, just like that.  for me, it was very comfortable and it was reassuring that he understood.  i guess i don't have that same feeling about having to tell either my family or my girlfriends...or straight guy friends for that matter.  i just know i wouldn't get the same response and i dread figuring out and determining who will remain and who will walk away.  i'm quite sure i'll be and "outsider."

as far as dating goes...good God, i don't even want to think about it as i feel it will certainly be a pretty lonely battle in trying to find that "prince" who will accept me for all that i am, and am not.  it will be tough.

for now, i'm just thankful for having found this site...



5/07 - viral load: 28,890  CD4: 514 
8/07 - viral load: 38,710  CD4: 451
9/07 - viral load: 47,000  CD4: 467
11/07 - viral load: 17,600 CD4: 421

Offline kellyspoppi

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2007, 12:42:58 AM »
after reading soooo many posts from hiv + women i couldn't help but add my 2 cents as a poz man for 22 years.

it was very interesting to read the number of hetero women who have found much comfort and support from the gay male community. i, too, must admit that if it wasn't for the gay male poz community i might never have made it this long.

i have posted in other forums here that i feared the thought of joining a hiv support group in my city, after losing my fiance to aids in 1989, because i didn't feel i could identify with IDU or gay males. i just didn't think we had anything in common.

so i tried to live this disease on my own, with the help of alcohol, and very supportive family & hiv negative friends. problem was, they had no idea what i was going through, and as supportive as they tried to be, i needed to be with others i could talk to that had what i had.

once i got past the nervousness of all that phobia i had and got to talking about the hiv issues that were pertinent to me, i felt like i had found a whole new family. phobia melted away and enduring friendships were developed, many of which were terminated by this deadly bug. each time the quilt comes to town i make it a point to take time to visit those i have lost. they truly made a difference in my life.

during those support group years several of the halfway houses in my city were being overpopulated with hiv + women from ny city. because i had a car, i became their chauffer.  their program allowed them to attend an hiv support group once a week. as a newly widowed and anxious for companionship poz male, i found this to be an opportunity to meet poz females and maybe find someone i could develop a relationship with.

i had tried dating negative women and had felt that panic of going with them to get their test results after we had a spontaneous moment with no protection, even though she knew i was poz. that moment was the most difficult of my life, waiting for her to come back out after getting her results. i swore i would never date a negative woman again.

the parade of women from the city continued coming through those halfway houses, and never once did i have a relationship with one of them. i can't explain why, but our friendships were genuine. many made it through their programs and went onto graduating from our local community college, setting up roots in the community, working as social workers and case managers helping others who came from the city. they were very courageous women, and unfortunately, now deceased. so trajic were the early years of aids!

i did, however, meet one woman from that halfway house/support group connection who, as it turned out, had moved back to our town from the city after she learned she had hiv, thinking she wanted to be closer to her family knowing death was near. we met in 1992 and married in 1994. our wedding ceremony took place in the room where our support group met regularly, at a local unitarian church.

we bought my parents house in the  town we both grew up in, have four grandchildren, spend a great deal of time working together in my insurance business, and have several hiv negative friends who support our open hiv staus every step of the way.

however, we have also gone to the high school we graduated from to talk to students about life with hiv, have been subjects of local news stories on world aids day, have gone to area colleges to speak to graduating nurses about the way positive patients used to be treated in our local hospitals, and were even open about our hiv status when extreme makeover home edition came to our town to build a home for a woman with 2 hiv positive kids & we were choosen to be her insurance agent.

my wife and i are mystified by the lack of positive hetero's we have met over the past 15 years we have been active in the hiv community here in upstate ny. yet we know;   after 9/11 the red cross reported over 1000 positive blood donations in our community;  our city has a 1 in 4 teenage pregnancy rate; and our local paper reported in a recent story on area prostitutes that every one of them was believed to be positive; hiv must be an issue in our hetero population.

why have they not come forward? STIGMA!!!

and until we do something to end the stigma associated with this disease, most hetero's will live this disease in silence. it is a sad fact, which i am not proud of.
i have walked the halls of congress and marched the streets of washington dc, and in most every case, few hetero's were present.

i hope those hetero's who visit this site gain inspiration from the posts i make here from time to time. our gay brothers and sisters have fought this battle far too long on their own for the most part, and i for one, hope to be a voice for change. it is long overdue!

thanks for asking the question.

kellyspoppi

 
      

Offline otherplaces

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2007, 01:49:25 AM »

Thanks for the post kellyspoppi. 

It is time we left the shadows.  Still being under the 2 year mark with this virus and trying to put my life back in order I realize that one of my main goals in life is to live openly as an HIV+ person.  Thanks for the hope and inspiration.

much love,
brian




Offline cjc

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2007, 07:37:26 AM »
I agree that we need to come forward  but sometimes it is not easy as we all ( Hetero, bi or gay) know. I worry about not just me being stigmatized in my small community but also my HIV- 4 yo Son and my HIV- 56 yo parents. I have been selfish so long that is why I got this but don't want to subject them to that.  Cristy

Offline ChaplinGuy

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2007, 12:11:42 PM »

To answer the question of the subject line ... I think it's like being homosexual and having HIV. Only without the Streisand records and flare.

Offline pointer165

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2007, 05:41:45 PM »
just to introduce myself....without these forums last year I swear the unbearable pain of a diagnosis of cancer could not have been handled without the support I found from these forums. I am doing well now & the last two CAT/PET scan came back great...just getting on with my life again which takes a VERY long time......and treating my body the best way I can...eating well,working out 3-4 times a week...and the whole experience has made me & also the people around me more special...takes a situation like that to happen because it never happened with the HIV diagnosis

........so to go back to this topic I had to put experience here.......my younger gay brother's best friend is a straight girl and more than 15 years ago she says she got the virus from a dentist...and what stories I heard from her about meeting guys...I would never go to the lengths...as soon as she told the potential BF about her status they literally "headed for the hills"..I'll get an update this summer as we'll all be spending some time together on Fire Island.

...but the better story comes next...so when I was diagnosed last March with lymphoma right behind my ear canal ..the size of a small grape......I had lost my hearing..so I call my oldest brother(64yo) & his wife who is a nurse..so I'm letting the tears flow...they were so cool about it....last yea IF you said CRY!...I could cry on cue:-)...so where's my OSCAR??...so same conversation and my brother says to me (over the phone)...I have something I want to tell you but you have to swear to secrecy....6 months ago they did an HIV test on me and it came back POSITIVE....I said why this is a really SWELL TIME TO TELL ME THIS STORY..but they swore me to secrecy because it was only the wife ,brother & the medical people that knew anything...they refused to tell anyone else for fear of that STIGMA I guess....so I said how did you get this?...he said because of all the neck surgeries he's had over the years and the CADAVERS bones that they used...were unknowingly contaminated with the HIV virus..he had been suffering through the years with the neck but also shingles,thrush etc & if it was a gay friend those are the major signs of HIV....so I never thought to ask him about that....so to end this story for now...they live in solitude with this secret...have two older daughters who do not know...they know all about their uncle(me).......I don't know how long they will continue this needless charade..it wasn't their fault, they do not want to take legal action because the surgeries happened in the hospital where she works....so he's on meds and doing well...imagine 64yo and getting that diagnosis! that's all for now.

cheers...

TC
Guamanian

Offline otherplaces

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2007, 06:49:05 PM »

CJC,

I know we can't all come forward.  I fear losing my job and my insurance, but on the other hand it's just me and to be honest I don't care much about what people think about me.  I've always been a bit of an outsider.  HIV just made that reality much starker.  I was thinking today that I should just try and be more open about it in conversation.  If it got back to work so be it, although it probably wouldn't.  I think part of me fears living in fear of the world's unjust rules.  So I have to see it as worthy goal for myself.

best,
brian

 

Offline kellyspoppi

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2007, 09:11:33 PM »
cadavers, wow, thats a new one on me, and i've been living with this a long time. not that i'm questioning it as i guess if it was being transfered through blood transfusions (how my deceased fiance got it) it makes sense that you could get it from cadaver bones.

but at 64, to be living with this secret is such a shame. life is too short, and for him, even shorter. these discussions were prominent in support groups of the 80's and 90's..... when to disclose to your kids. if he's 64 i have to assume his kids are adults by now. he doesn't think they are mature enough to deal with that info. i would think they would resent it more if he got real sick and died before they knew.

my feeling was i wanted to be the one to tell my son, not someone else. but at 10 years old, i was afraid he would share it with a friend who would blab it to his parents and then spread it around the community. i was a little league and babe ruth baseball coach for my sons teams and it really scared me that parents would find out back then and pull their kids from the team. again, this was in the late 80's/ early 90's.

because there was so little education about hiv back then, it was reasonable to assume disclosure would result in acts of discrimination and other unmentionables.

but damn it, we are now 25 years into this disease and people have had plenty of time to get educated, especially young people. my attitude now is that if you can accept the fact that i am no threat to you by now, then go get your ass educated and then come talk to me,  you illiterate jerk!

it really saddens me hearing folks talk about not being comfortable enough with this illness that they cannot disclose to their families and loved ones. it is such a crime.

enough of that.

i do want to talk to the hetero ladies ( including bi's, betty), especially those with partners, about something of a personal nature. hope you all don't mind the question.

when my current wife and i first met, having sex for the first time with a positive person was like finally getting back to the way things were supposed to be. remember, this was pre-haart and, believe me, even if cross resistence was an issue back then, having sex for the first time without the fear of passing the virus was such a turn on.
 
my wife and i were very active sexually right up until we started taking protease inhibitors. within a few months we both noticed that are sex drive was getting weaker. for me it was like i started losing it in the legs, then the mind, and now altogether.

part of that has to do with the many lazor surgeries my wife has had to have (3) due to abnormal pap smears, a common occurence in poz women. i feel like my wife has experienced so much pain as a result of those surgeries that she has lost her willingness to have intercourse.

so i guess what i'm asking here is, did protease inhibitors reduce your sex drive as well, or do you think those surgeries have more to do with her losing interest? i think she's afraid that if we have intercourse it will bring on another episode and, as a result, another painfull surgery, so why risk it. am it right?

so in answer to the original question, how is it being hetero and having hiv, i say this....... i'm soon to be 57, fearing my days of being able to have intercourse are slowly slipping by, and despite the intense love i feel for my wife, i see no end in sight of that ever happening again. very sad!

am i happy about that aspect of being hetero with hiv? ....... lets just say i have never heard a gay male or seen a post by a gay male who ever mentioned having problems having sex. so, if i'm wrong here guys, feel free to put in your 2 cents.

kellyspoppi     

Offline naftalim

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2007, 12:17:51 AM »
Well. my friends pre-diagnosis are still my friends post diagnosis, so thats good. I  have limited disclosure to those that are real friends. I was diagnosed 2 years ago, so a lot of the experiences are still new.

It was tough at first as I am probably the only HIV+ person that my straight friends know.

Certainly, the personal relationship issue is the most difficult one that I face. I have dated a few poz women, but nothing came of it, more as a result of distance than compatibility.

I avoid getting into situations where meeting a  negative woman might lead to anything else which is difficult. Also, its sad to know that I can never have real initimate sexual relations again. I am fortunate however, that this happend to me at close to 50, so I have experienced relationships without this issue. I know several women who were diagnosed in their early 20s, and so they have lived their whole adult life with this.

So, if there are women in this forum who would like to meet a nice guy who lives in Vancouver, or just to chat, drop me a PM.  ;D



Offline kellyspoppi

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2007, 06:15:45 AM »
ahhh, to be 20 again.

jack, my prayer for u is that i day you will feel u have gained enough strength from these forums that u will be able to come out of that cave and shout out to the world "i'm positive!

to have to live your entire adult life in secrecy seems absured to me, and quite unhealthy. but i understand your wanting to be guarded about your status initially.
you need to find a way to get comfortable in your new found status. if you have no one you feel you can talk to in person, then hang around here and ask lots of questions. there are many compassionate folks here to help with your fears.

stay connected man, and i look forward to seeing you post more in the future.

kellyspoppi

Offline pointer165

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2007, 12:02:21 PM »
I am living with HIV for well over 20 years now.......and my older brother being diagnosed last year, is no different than this young man who remains hidden...it is disgusting this stigma after all these years & I just never knew it existed like this... but the gay community dealt with it in a different way than the straight community...we still were going to have sex..most men want sex & we were going to find the way to do it.....but being gay HIV pos has it's ups & downs.....but not being able to speak to another soul on earth is a horrible sentence......I hope my brother, in his own time, as for this young man in college, that they have some means of "venting"...my brother does talk to a psychiatrist and has his wife and there's me, who knows the A to Z's about this virus...and I wish for this young man to go speak to at least ONE OTHER PERSON....make it a professional off campus...you can do a search online...there are many people that will do it anonymously....good luck to you!! and there's always us you can ask any questions...please feel free to "pick my brain"....god knows I've been there!
Guamanian

Offline ChaplinGuy

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2007, 02:23:28 PM »

I think the biggest issue for "straight" guys (and I use quotes to try and make the emphasis that some have this virus as the result of non-heterosexual activities in the past, but who otherwise lead straight lives) is that we're not supposed to have this disease. By that I mean, it just seems more accepting to be gay and have HIV. My gay friends are more comfortable with it, talk about it more, embrace it more - which is why the only 2 people who know about my status are gay men. I knew that they'd be okay with it - not to mention, tell me about all the other people they know that have it.

Straight guys just don't talk about HIV, or about their friends who have HIV, or go to HIV awareness rallies. I am generalizing here, but my point is that there is less community to connect with. If you don't identify as "gay" then it's dually hard to go to those rallies for fear of being seen as "oh, there's another gay guy with HIV."

But more important is this: I don't think most guys are going to talk about this kind of stuff because they just don't talk about this kind of thing. I doubt I'd go public with any other diseases (well, maybe cancer) either. I just don't really think it's necessary to always share everything about one's personal life. My sense is that gay men are a bit more comfortable socializing with this disease because of it's history and identity.

Offline bluelove

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2007, 02:42:04 PM »
Another heterosexual woman here and my support comes from my sisters and friends.Like so many of the other women here l have not met one poz female in the city where live.

I have to say for me though my biggest suport has come from my gay "big brothers".They were friends of mine before l found out and their support and care since has kept me going many times.

This site also keeps me sane l may not post but l do read and it has made me feel less alone many times.

But some days l still feel very alone living with this.





Offline englishgirl

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2007, 04:51:46 PM »
ChaplinGuy:
I think the biggest issue for "straight" guys ... is that we're not supposed to have this disease. By that I mean, it just seems more accepting to be gay and have HIV.

im totally feeling you on this one - the opinion seems to be that if youre gay (or 3rd world african) and have hiv "oh, right, no big surprise it was always a scary possibility, there's tons of it out there, i sympathise"
but if youre a first-world heterosexual "damn, you must have tried REALLY hard and done some REALLY kinky stuff to get THAT and you SO shouldve known better"
and that is the attitude i have received from a clinical nurse specialist as well as the general population!!

drives me crazy. the only normal attitude i seem to get is from the WONDERFUL gay community and a couple of friends.

on a completely different note - wow, we now have online proof that there at over 20 first-world/middle class  heterosexuals/bisexuals with hiv!!! couple more and we can start our own football league!!  :D

(ps is there a generally-accepted term for what i am trying to say? ie first-world/middle class rather than 3rd world/african? aargh terminology!!)
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"I'm not keen on the idea of the afterlife - not without knowing who else will be there and what the entertainment will be. Personally I'd rather just take a rest." Oscar Berger, PWA: Looking AIDS in the Face, 1996. RIP.

Offline SASA39

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2007, 05:58:36 PM »
And what if a doc say to your wife with smile : ( because she is HIV- )
" You know my dear , you cannot get this desease so easily "  >:(
Oct.     `06.  CD4=58  ?    %       VL not perform. ?!?
25.Dec.`06.         203       14        VL= 0
29.May.`07.    broken device        VL=1363
20.June`07     broken device        VL=0
25.Dec `07  CD4=582                  VL=70
14.May `08  CD4=448
29.July `08                                  VL=0
26.Nov `08  CD4=674                    VL=179
16.Mar `09  CD4=554                    VL=0
19.Jan`10 CD4=715               
03.Mar`10                                    VL=0
24.Aug`10 CD4=524                     VL=0
04.Dec`10 CD4=626                     VL=0
15.Sep`11                                   VL=93
17.Nov`11                                   VL=0
05/26 .Jul`12 CD4=713                 VL=0
28.Nov`12 CD4=916                     VL=0
09.May`13                                 VL=0

Offline otherplaces

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2007, 07:37:44 PM »

I think the biggest issue for "straight" guys (and I use quotes to try and make the emphasis that some have this virus as the result of non-heterosexual activities in the past, but who otherwise lead straight lives)

Perhaps it's not worth noting, but I do find it a curious distinction to now indicate straight with quotes.  I point it out because I feel there's alot of discrimination in regards to this.  It seems if you ever venture off the socially sanctioned pasture your straight card is revoked in perpetuity and you're never allowed back on the pasture.  Women wish "you'd just make up your mind that you're gay already", and gays think "oh, he's not sure...still in the closet".  And if you refer to yourself as straight (i.e. I walk around and look at women and think they're cute/beautiful/hot all day, not men) you have to now qualify it in some way? 

I wonder how many gay men have slept with women?  And I know some of you guys have kids, so I figure it happens.  Does that mean they're "gay"?  Not the full fledged gay, but the kind you have to put quotes around. And if one's sexuality ever moves at all it only moves in a homosexual direction?

In relation to the topic at hand I feel as if I'm an HIV+ straight man, and oh my plenty of people have questioned me on that mark.  But my sexual identity is MINE...not theirs.  Stereotypes about HIV will now always follow me around about that, and that's fine as I don't feel bad about being called gay.  It's when I tell someone I'm not and they think I'm lying or don't want to admit something....that bugs me.

Just some thoughts.

brian





Offline lucas clay

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2007, 03:48:24 PM »
HIV does not discriminate. it kills everybody equally and with out bias.
my wife knows and that's it because people are cruel. if work knew i would be the joke of the shop, people would have a field day with that one.
i have a couple of close friends, but i afraid if they knew that would be it.just there comments on the subject at work made me sick to my stomach i couldn't listen to that crap anymore and had to go somewhere else for lunch that day.
my one dear friend of 20 years passed away from this damn thing, i miss her. she may have understood.now shes gone, and i wonder if i killed her.
LORD HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL.
i don't cope to well, dont want my kids to know. nor do i want my family to know.
i came here to learn about things and to make friends.and hopefully this will help me deal with it

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2007, 04:43:20 PM »
In small group discussion in the L.I.F.E. program, I remember a young man who said he was heterosexual and had gotten HIV from a blood transfusion in surgery. 

One of my childhood friends whom I had known since we met at the babysitter's at age 5 had gotten HIV from plasma as he was Hemophilliac and no one was checking blood products that early in the pandemic.  He died about 15 years ago, after his parents had both died, his brother, sisters, neices and nephews found a bank book in his personal possessions.  That account had $250,000.00 in it and was a settlement from the drug company which sold the tainted blood products.  The only money he ever spent from that settlement was for a new dishwashing machine for his mother.  Have the best day
Michael

Offline numbat

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2007, 12:03:28 AM »
It's hardest because there is so little support, Hetero guy here. Very few people know of my status, in my family my mother and my godfather are the only ones who know, I'm ashamed to even let my father know.
For dating which used to be so easy for it's almost non existent, I dated a few girls I met online, and they definitely weren't my type.  I have so many girls who flirt with me, ones that I like, and I find myself distancing myself from them, afraid to get too close because I already know where it's going to lead.
I think this is the hardest part, when we find out we have HIV we realize, just from our own views on it from our lives from before, that we are going to bare almost all of the burden alone. We've seen the prejudice that goes on behind closed doors. I think it's harder to face that where you might have once been respected and accepted as one of the group.
    Far to often I find myself alone with nobody to talk to and it wares me down. I work, I exercise, I go to school, and I still have that lingering fear, the fear that people I know will find out. 

Offline kellyspoppi

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2007, 10:42:31 PM »
to all the hetero/bi poz females who have posted on this thread. i don't mean to sound impatient, but i asked a question of you ladies and i have yet to get a response from any of you.

was my question too personal or do i need to browse the poz women forum to hopefully see some answers. i was being perfectly frank with my question, and would honestly like your thoughts.

i look forward to hearing from someone on my question.

thanks, kellyspoppi

Offline Esquare

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2007, 12:49:38 AM »
I like Jack feel like I'm living in a little cave with this other than my wife who knows. As someone else said I'm treated like I'm not supposed to have this or something like that. I do feel like some in my medical staff may have the thought that I have some secret homosexual life that I haven't told them about but I don't. I get this by just reading their facial expressions and the types of questions that they have asked me.

Offline Poz Brit

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2007, 10:55:35 AM »
Support was here, and very good but the then flame wars and constant bickering spoilt it and I began to look around for something closer to home, and I found, THT ( The Terrence Higgins Trust) here in the UK, which was better as they offered counselling, and helped me through my financial and other health problems, by writing the relevant letters and filling in the necessary forms and pointing me in the right direction with introductions to specialised and free help, they also offered free massage and reflexology, it didnít do much for HIV but it did give brief relief to the anxiety and relaxed me out for a while. Two days a week they have a drop in, where you have lunch and freely meet and chat to others with HIV, they are a mixed bunch of Gay Straight, and African, from newly diagnosed to long timers, At Christmas they laid on a buffet and the Large room was full of people who were Living With HIV/AIDS, for me, that was quite wonderful and I have not felt so alone since, from not Knowing any one to meeting so many fellow sufferers.
For any of you in the UK Look up THT in your area even if all you need is a chat, I have found they listen, care, and help unconditionally.
I know I don,t contribute here very often but I lurk, meeting others face to face I find so much more rewarding than just knowing some one in print, please donít take me wrong here, the support from many on this site was over whelming and appreciated but its not the same as a face to face.
Family know my status and are understanding, friends I donít tell as it is very much a stigma thing here.
my Partner is my life line and amazingly understanding and supportive, I feel that I have come along way in 20 months since diagnosis day and its so good to see so many doing well with this disease, in 25 years of HIV  thankfully things have improved, well here in the west, Please remember the Horror of the 80ís is still here, from me, here in the UK itís only a 6 to 8 hour Air Trip away, In Africa. Where the majority is Hetro.

Take Care John

Offline 404error

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2007, 03:45:44 PM »
"and I use quotes to try and make the emphasis that some have this virus as the result of non-heterosexual activities in the past, but who otherwise lead straight lives"

This is something that really irritates me about gay men.  This was posted in this thread and in another thread where a gay man asked heterosexuals how they were coping, it was suggested that they must have gotten it from a gay experience somewhere hidden deep in their closets of the past.  It's catty, immature and disrespectful.  If someone says they're straight, then they're straight and you are in no place to question whether or not that's true.

I'm fortunate that my family has been very understanding as have all my friends.  I haven't lost any contact with anyone I was socializing with before becoming diagnosed and announcing my status to those close to me.  I no longer access any services in Vancouver because I feel like the subject of sexual harassment by older, sleazier gay men.  I've tried being nice to gay man, and really, I have no problem of them.  I respect their decisions to be gay, to live gay lifestyles, to pursue relationships with other men, to celebrate their sexuality, and even to get married and have families.  What I've found in being nice however is that they see it as an opportunity to try and get me into bed.  "Lets exchange phone numbers in case you ever need someone to talk to" almost always leads to a phone call no more than a few hours later where I'm invited over for some wine, DVD's and whatever...  If I hear "It won't make you gay if you let me suck your dick" one more time, I'm seriously gonna punch someone.  It's sexual harassment, bold and in your face sexual harassment.  If I talked to a woman like that, wow, I'd be in some serious trouble.  There's no course of action for this sort of behaviour either, because they're gay and just being cheeky and fabulous...  Try complaining to the director of an organization who is gay about how the other gay man made you feel uncomfortable and all you'll get is a lecture on tolerance or be branded a homophobe...  Either way, you're screwed!

I choose to find support only online because women are segregated in Canada and I'm tired of being harassed by gay men.  I'm tired of the lecherous stares of middle aged gay men who tug at their crotch while staring me down like a piece of fresh cooked meat when they haven't eaten in days.  I'm also tired of hearing more about white priviledge in America than I am about services that are going to be offered to effectively service those of the heterosexual population.  Choose your causes people!!  Race issues in America, while they do exist and are a problem, are not your problem when you're on the clock.  You are working at an AIDS organization in Canada that is meant to service those in the area.  Keep the social crusading to your free time. 

I don't date at all anymore.  I've tried a couple times in the year and a half since being diagnosed.  I never make it more than 48 hours past disclosing before being turfed.  It's tough.  I had always managed to do pretty well for myself in terms of meeting women and pursuing relationships.  Attractive, intelligent women who take care of their minds and bodies.  Women with ambition, and personality.  Women with pride, and self esteem.  It seems that these types of women are going to be a part of my past.  The only interest I get these days are from women online who I will never be attracted to on a physical level.  Does that make me shallow?  Some might argue yes but why should I settle for less? 

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what I can do to better my social life.  Living in Canada and in particular Vancouver I see nothing for me.  I'd really like to move away from here.  Perhaps to the US where there are more people and more people equals more poz people.  Maybe South Africa or the Ukraine where the numbers of those living with HIV are so high that I'd have no problem meeting a woman who was poz and would be happy to have me.

A social critic who promotes equality...

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2007, 04:26:30 PM »
Just for the record, I can think of 2 positive heterosexual single women - a friend and, um...another friend - who are watching this thread very closely, keeping tabs on all the positive heterosexual single men. ;D

Tis reassuring to know that, although seemingly rare, they are not a totally extinct species.

Melia ;)
(who isn't hijacking just commenting) 
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 04:28:10 PM by sweetasmeli »
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Offline englishgirl

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2007, 04:58:59 PM »
personally i was really chuffed that anyone cared enough to ask about my/our experiences

i have never felt segregated by gay men in support groups and know that the 2 heterosexual +ve men i know have also felt very welcomed at tht meetings in the uk - im sorry upallnight that you have had such bad experiences but i think that you have just been unfortunate. i have myself recently experienced segregation and animosity from a group of african +ve people so i am aware that sadly it can happen within the +ve community. all i can say is dont tar everyone with the same brush and keep giving people a chance. altho you are entitled to be pissed off at your past experiences you need to be careful that you dont think that you will never experience anything else. maybe you will meet some people in your area thru this site who you can get support from..? hope so xx

as an aside tho, like you are pissed off at some people wondering if you have contracted during a moment of gayness, i find that people assume that i mustve taken it up the ass, been a complete slut, or been involved in something REALLY rough and kinky to contract - i can almost see their opinions of my sexual morals head south in front of my eyes - i still dont think that a lot of people really realise that it is possible to get it from boring heterosexual sex with a regular partner (maybe you can tell from the way i write this that it wasnt even a good shag  ;) i mean, at least if it'd been earthshatteringly good i could have taken some comfort in that  ;D )

anyway, letting people know differing experiences is why i welcome people asking me about my own experiences and why i want to know about theirs, so once again mauricio thanks for starting this thread xxxx

ps pozbrit - yeah i got a lot of support from tht too - until earlier this year when our local social services removed all funding and gave it to the 'black health initiative' .... so now these forums are my only support (and occasionally meeting up with a couple of friends i met thru tht in the pub) hopefully things will improve but i gotta be honest and say i dont hold out much hope

pps kellyspoppi - not ignoring your Q just not on any meds or getting any sex so cant comment

ppps melia - hear hear!

pppps (!!!) should not be reading/posting this at all have an accounting/stats exam tomorrow & should be revising - uuurg!
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Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2007, 05:36:23 PM »
UpAllNight
I hope you can find better support through these forums too.

I've never attended support groups, so I can't comment about them. Although, after I get back to the UK, I do intend to make more use of Body Positive. So it will be interesting to see how things work there...

i still dont think that a lot of people really realise that it is possible to get it from boring heterosexual sex with a regular partner
I think this is one of the crucial messages that is just NOT getting across to folk. And that needs addressing.

pps kellyspoppi - not ignoring your Q just not on any meds or getting any sex so cant comment
Ditto and ditto. (waah at the 2nd ditto! :'()

pppps (!!!) should not be reading/posting this at all have an accounting/stats exam tomorrow & should be revising - uuurg!
So get offline woman! :P And good luck! xx

Melia
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(,,,_ ,,,)/   (,,,_ ,,,)/ Cats rule!

The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs come when called, whereas cats take a message and get back to you.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!

Offline otherplaces

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2007, 08:18:52 PM »

I do this from time to time.  I search for support groups in Chicago that I might be able to attend.  I was just at the tpan website and this is what strikes me over and over again.  It's 2007 and look how segregated all their services are.

There's a gay support group, a female support group. a hiv+ and in recovery support group, a support group for "gay and bi men of african descent", a newly diagnosed support group, and a daytime support group.

Well, daytime is out because I gotta' work.  I find it especially weird that the group for black men specifically does NOT include straight men.  And really the existense of a female support group speaks directly to what is missing.  I seriously doubt all those females are IV drug users and lesbians.

I've said this before.  I don't really want to go to a straight support group.  I'd like a support group that doesn't care who I am or how I found the virus.  I also see nothing wrong with focusing on certain groups, but it shouldn't be done to the exclusion of all inclusive groups.

I wonder when HIV activists and services design these campaigns that say, "HIV doesn't discriminate" do they really believe that?   I look at the services offered and it reinforces old stereotypes in one of the US's largest cities.


Offline BT65

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2007, 09:28:59 PM »
The one thing about Chicago is, though, you have that diversity of support groups.  The only one we have here in this town is one for people who are poz and want to be drug and alcohol-free.  I quit going though because I'm the only one who ever stays drug and alcohol free.
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Offline StacheBC

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2007, 10:51:12 PM »
UpAllNight, I never attended a HIV/AIDS support group here in Vancouver, but I think if you are going to a support group and being harassed, I think you have every right to be pissed off. I think you should take you concerns above "the director of an organization who is gay", since what you describe is not right period.
Just because people are gay, doesn't mean they can't be jerks. Be it in Vancouver Canada, Brazil or SA.

Yet as EnglishGirl mentions in her post, I would not assume that what you have experienced is a standard practise for all gay men. I for one would say heterosexual men turn me off sexually. Just like a woman, I can find them physically attractive, but sexually it just doesn't cut it.

I would encourage you to keep your options open to woman outside of Canada as well. Since Canada unlike some countries does allow HIV+ people to gain permanent residency in the country if they become a spouse of a Canadian citizen (this is one of the few exceptions. Since most poz people are denied this privilege, at least for residency, due to the medical burden this could cause to your social medical system).  So you never know if one day you'll be sponsering that hot Brazilian woman to Canada :)

I'd like to thank you for your post, I'm glad to see more heterosexuals becoming more visible here in AM. Since although many issue brought up here are human issues that apply to all of us, there certainly are issues that affect heterosexuals in particular. Being able to attend a support group without being harassed is one of them. Plus as a gay man, I think I can only grow as person by reading some of these posts and replies.

Cheers,
Mauricio.

Offline kellyspoppi

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2007, 11:58:39 PM »
these last couple of posts are disheartening to me. when i think back to the early 90's when funding for services here in the usa were at a minimum, you were truly lucky to be able to find a support group period. therefore when you did, there were gays, straights, idu's, minorities, a true mix of how hiv does not discriminate.

as i have said before, as a hetero sexual white male non idu, i was in the minority. it took alot of courage for me to get up the nerve to attend that group because of the sterotype aids first presented itself. but as time elapsed and i was craving to be with those i could identify with ( having hiv/aids), it didn't matter to me who was in the group, just that they could help me to work through living with this disease.

back then people were dying and relationships were gained and lost as quickly as you change underwear. but through it all, we were one, in trying to survive this disease. over a 3 year period of time a 30 person room dwindled down to 7. we became known as the long term survivors, although we didn't know it at the time. we just knew we were still standing and weren't getting sick. soon we were no longer showing up for group, deciding that it was time to start living with hiv instead of dying with aids, and we all began to get on with our lives.

by then, money started pouring into agencies as the numbers also began to rise. minority communities began dominating most support groups, and it was then i noticed splintering of groups occuring.

women, who were not being represented adequately by agencies in the meeting of their needs, or in clinical trials, began forming their own groups. gays began breaking from minorities, as they did not wish to talk about addiction issues. this sadly became the trend, because the topics discussed no longer dealt with one another helping members through sickness and death issues, but more about how folks could coup with living with hiv. therefore you wanted to be with those you would socialize with in every day life.

as a board member of an area ASO, we have noticed a significant reduction in support groups all together. agencies want to concentrate the reduced funding levels they have had to deal with under republican rule in congress by meeting the emergency needs (housing & utility assisstence) of those financially strapped. slowly but surely the frills have been stripped away in favor of meeting mental health and case management needs only, just to keep from having waiting lists as the numbers of newly infected rise.

and now that ryan white transportation rides (buses,cabs, and subways) are limited to those services which provide medical outcomes, plwa's can no longer expect a ride to support groups, social dinners/luncheons, and limited support case management appointments. it won't be long before support groups will become non-existent again.

for those who feel socially disconnected i feel extremely bad that this is the current trend, for without support groups and  social meal gatherings to go to, they will become less connected with their peers, in many cases, the only folks they feel comfortable with.

i feel even more saddness for the newly infected individuals, because without a place to go to meet those who have been living with this disease for as long as i have (22 years), how are they to gain hope without a chance to hear our stories. these forums only reach so many, but as we have noticed, when a newly infected person begins to read these threads and realizes how long many of us have been living with hiv, hope replaces doom instantly, and with that type of newly inspired mental outlook, they gain a much better chance of staying healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

so i guess what i am saying here is that if we are LTS's with deep ties to our ASO's, we need to do what we can to try to maintain some type of support system for those who need it. advocate to become members of your agencies board or client services committee, and be a voice for those who fear speaking for themselves.

in the end, the only thing we can truly count on is ourselves, and 1 support group is better than no support at all.   

Offline 404error

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #44 on: May 17, 2007, 05:36:34 PM »
I think overall it would be a lot better if there was just one place to go.  One HIV/AIDS organization that offered different services for people of different needs on different days of the week.  I'd like to see us all have to walk through the same front doors, share the same lounge/common area and be able to interact with all PWA's.  I don't understand the need for discrimination.  All it does is help people with HIV stigmatize others with HIV and we're all stigmatized as it is.  It seems like everyone is so hell bent on being identified as an individual rather than part of a collective whole.  Ahh, to be politically correct...
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Offline Fosbery

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #45 on: May 17, 2007, 06:49:36 PM »
This all being said and for the fact that my partner and I are also from the Vancouver area I can only imagine how hard it must be for heterosexual people. We are not into the bars either and we live in the burbs, and have no real support except for each other and it has been very difficult for us as I unknowingly passed it on to him and he has a real grudge and blames me, and I do understand how he feels and do not blame him for this. I wish that there was a group for both to meet together, not for gay or straight people, but just people that are Hiv + and need to have support. No one else knows but the 2 of us and we have no intentions of telling others at this time, we only found out a year ago. Seems from what I have read that most of the heterosexual people have more courage than I as they have told their family and friends and I tip my hats to them, and I'm sure they have the best support system going. We have been offered to attend some kind of a support group downtown but have not attended as we do not feel that sitting in a circle with other gay people is what we are looking for right now, we do wish we knew others that we could talk to about this but not at one of these meetings. It is more complicated in our case as my partner is still angry and feeling betrayed.
It is nice however to come here and talk to everyone, straight, gay, who ever, and talk as people with Hiv and get that support that we all need.

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #46 on: May 17, 2007, 11:45:58 PM »
I had always managed to do pretty well for myself in terms of meeting women and pursuing relationships.  Attractive, intelligent women who take care of their minds and bodies.  Women with ambition, and personality.  Women with pride, and self esteem.  It seems that these types of women are going to be a part of my past.  The only interest I get these days are from women online who I will never be attracted to on a physical level.  Does that make me shallow?  Some might argue yes but why should I settle for less?

Yup.

You know UpAllNight I might be the only one reading your comments this way, but what the heck. It seems to me that you're suggesting that HIV positive women are the sort of women who lack those things you find attractive.

Like ambition, personality, pride and self esteem.

Now I'm just another lecherous gay man, but I've met a couple of HIV positive women in my time and they seemed to have all of those qualities and a whole lot more.

But then none of them lived in Vancouver.

MtD

Offline 404error

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #47 on: May 17, 2007, 11:57:52 PM »
What I'm suggesting here isn't that women who have HIV lack the qualities I found attractive in those I have dated in the past.  What I'm saying is 1.  I don't get to meet them.  2.  The women I do meet are hardcore drug addicts and between about 12 of them, they could put together a full set of teeth. And 3.  I'm not going to settle for dating HIV positive crack whores because they're the only HIV positive women I'm exposed to.  I'm also not going to start dating the obese.  I'm only going to date those who take care of their bodies, as well as their minds to a level that I feel is on par with how I take care of both my mind and body. That was what I was saying.

I appreciate the cheeky lecherous gay man comment though :)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2007, 12:04:09 AM by UpAllNight »
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Offline Fosbery

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #48 on: May 18, 2007, 11:10:21 AM »
cadavers, wow, thats a new one on me, and i've been living with this a long time. not that i'm questioning it as i guess if it was being transfered through blood transfusions (how my deceased fiance got it) it makes sense that you could get it from cadaver bones.

but at 64, to be living with this secret is such a shame. life is too short, and for him, even shorter. these discussions were prominent in support groups of the 80's and 90's..... when to disclose to your kids. if he's 64 i have to assume his kids are adults by now. he doesn't think they are mature enough to deal with that info. i would think they would resent it more if he got real sick and died before they knew.

my feeling was i wanted to be the one to tell my son, not someone else. but at 10 years old, i was afraid he would share it with a friend who would blab it to his parents and then spread it around the community. i was a little league and babe ruth baseball coach for my sons teams and it really scared me that parents would find out back then and pull their kids from the team. again, this was in the late 80's/ early 90's.

because there was so little education about hiv back then, it was reasonable to assume disclosure would result in acts of discrimination and other unmentionables.

but damn it, we are now 25 years into this disease and people have had plenty of time to get educated, especially young people. my attitude now is that if you can accept the fact that i am no threat to you by now, then go get your ass educated and then come talk to me,  you illiterate jerk!

it really saddens me hearing folks talk about not being comfortable enough with this illness that they cannot disclose to their families and loved ones. it is such a crime.

enough of that.

i do want to talk to the hetero ladies ( including bi's, betty), especially those with partners, about something of a personal nature. hope you all don't mind the question.

when my current wife and i first met, having sex for the first time with a positive person was like finally getting back to the way things were supposed to be. remember, this was pre-haart and, believe me, even if cross resistence was an issue back then, having sex for the first time without the fear of passing the virus was such a turn on.
 
my wife and i were very active sexually right up until we started taking protease inhibitors. within a few months we both noticed that are sex drive was getting weaker. for me it was like i started losing it in the legs, then the mind, and now altogether.

part of that has to do with the many lazor surgeries my wife has had to have (3) due to abnormal pap smears, a common occurence in poz women. i feel like my wife has experienced so much pain as a result of those surgeries that she has lost her willingness to have intercourse.

so i guess what i'm asking here is, did protease inhibitors reduce your sex drive as well, or do you think those surgeries have more to do with her losing interest? i think she's afraid that if we have intercourse it will bring on another episode and, as a result, another painfull surgery, so why risk it. am it right?

so in answer to the original question, how is it being hetero and having hiv, i say this....... i'm soon to be 57, fearing my days of being able to have intercourse are slowly slipping by, and despite the intense love i feel for my wife, i see no end in sight of that ever happening again. very sad!

am i happy about that aspect of being hetero with hiv? ....... lets just say i have never heard a gay male or seen a post by a gay male who ever mentioned having problems having sex. so, if i'm wrong here guys, feel free to put in your 2 cents.

kellyspoppi     

Hey there Kellyspoppi

Well im a gay male and it's not an easy thing to tell anyone that you are having problems getting it up, male ego thing I guess. But in the last year since I found out it has gone down hill, I talked to my doctor and it all comes down to stress, and for me guilt and feeling tainted all adds to the mix in the pot.
 So that's my 2 cents worth...lol....

Offline Fosbery

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Re: How is it being heterosexual and having HIV?
« Reply #49 on: May 18, 2007, 11:23:13 AM »
Wow, its odd that I've missed out on this thread. I'm a 20 year old college student, straight, white, HIV+ male. I've shouted to the moon all of the exact things that you've all said here.

I'm not able to tell anyone. Period. I'm even afraid of someone seeing me when I'm going to the ID doc. I don't go to support groups for the same reason. Sometimes its weird being around family and friends and not saying anything, for my infection is often the center of my thoughts. It adds a whole 'nother degree of difficulty to having HIV. On top of that, I've got a prescription sitting here that I've gotta fill for the first time.

Anyway, its been great to see that HIV+, straight, females do exist....Maybe one day I can meet one!

And to whomever had the sneaking suspicion that the straight, white, positive people were hiding.....I'm one of them..


I'm gonna crawl back into my HIV cave now, and hide from all the neggies. Goodnight.

Hey Jack

Totally understand where you are coming from, Im 42 and for many of us that are gay and speaking for myself have already been in that dark cave just hidding the fact that I was gay and though it took many years to finally come out to other gay people and a handfull of straight friends, I still hide that Im gay to most, Hiv just drives me deeper into that dark cave. It's a double yammy.

 


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